Will Cabinet men on Napoles list get a pass?
MANILA - Malacanang is supportive of the position taken by rehabilitation czar Panfilo Lacson on the importance of maintaining the integrity of Congress amid questions being posed against lawmakers over the pork barrel scam.
Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr of the Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) said he has talked to Lacson about his revelation that former and incumbent lawmakers benefited from the pork scam of Janet Lim Napoles.
He said the Palace supports the position of Lacson that a thorough investigation be conducted in the scam to ensure the integrity of the Philippine Senate and House of Representatives.
"Katulad ng pahayag ni Secretary Lacson, naniniwala kami na mahalaga ang integridad ng Senado at Kamara de Representantes bilang mga institusyon ng pamahalaan. Dahil dito, dapat alamin kung mayroong kongkretong ebidensya na maaaring maging batayan sa paghaharap ng usapin," he said.
Coloma told Palace reporters that Secretary Lacson already discussed the matter with President Benigno Aquino III before the President left Saturday for Myanmar. He said the Aquino administration is very much interested in seeing the prosecution of the people included on the list.
Coloma said that President Aquino told reporters in Myanmar last night that he had directed Justice Secretary Leila de Lima to assess the information provided by Napoles and submit the same to the Office of the Ombudsman for proper evaluation.
"The President said and I quote: 'If she says the truth, thank you. If she says some of the truth and some of it lies, even the truth that will support the lies or will try to make the lies seemingly true, will help us in ferreting out the truth.' End of quotation," said Coloma.
Asked if the two members of the Cabinet who were said to be on the list will be given exception, Coloma said the Cabinet members involved will also be prosecuted if evidence warrants it.
However, Coloma explained that the controversy does not point to the 'acts" supposedly done during their incumbency as Cabinet members but as legislators.
"Pareho naman po ang patakaran at walang pagbabago na ang lahat ay ibabatay sa kongkretong ebidensya. Pansinin po natin na ang pagbanggit sa sinabi ninyo ay hinggil sa kanilang panunungkulan bilang mga kagawad ng Kongreso, at hindi hinggil sa kanilang panunungkulan bilang mga miyembro ng Gabinete, at 'yung kanilang panunungkulan ay nangyari noong nakaraan," he said.